I believe in personal revelation as a direct and open two-way connection with God, and rely on it heavily. I seek to live with no strings attached to anyone before my God, as long as I follow the Spirit, and sincerely experiment on the fruits of the Word.
It is not anyone‘s right or burden to carry my responsibility of worship, and I do not feel it is helpful when others offer to take mine. Not the prophet (don’t give it or do it to the poor man,) people with callings in the church, my parents, my community, my spouse, or my children. My journey is mine. My covenants, mine. They are mine to make and mine to break. Mine to be accountable for.
To each their own.
I honor this. It is our gift of choice. I strive not to give my agency away, except in vulnerability and faith to my God, whom I strive to completely surrender my will to. For only here, I have found it safe to do so. Only here, I have found it fruitful.
This is why I cannot claim “I know the Church is true.”
Joseph Smith pointed out Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle and ordinance of the gospel.
He didn’t put emphasis on faith in knowing the Church is true, or even faith in the Church itself. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is what is emphasized. Not faith in the arm of flesh. Not faith in the prophet. Not faith in other human being’s assessments of our spiritual journey. Not faith in our rules. Not faith in the world’s traditions. Not faith in our fear.
For none other, but Christ himself can quench the uncomfortable vulnerabilities that might arise from not yet knowing all things.
It is said: Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
Not our traditions. Not our appearance. Not even the Church.
And what of, “I have the truth…” like it is a box-to-be-checked in our spiritual progression, and we are moving on now. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I hear this claim made frequently. I know when others say it, it means something important to them. I honor that. It is just not mine claim to make at this time. I have so much more to learn.
Scripture claims the definition of truth is:
“a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come”
If we accept this definition of truth, then when we claim we “know the church to be true,” we are literally saying “we know the church is a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.”
Now that is an interesting claim.
I gently nudge that we potentially use the word truth out of context.
I get a kick out of finding truths that resonate with me, and hope to understand the entire framework someday. But for now, I continually investigate, experiment, and receive – hoping to receive the whole picture someday.
If we thoughtfully embraced the above Doctrine and Covenant’s truth definition, we might acknowledge that humanity will also find a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come outside of the church as well. In nature, in experiences, in promptings, in vision, in other religions, in history, as well as inside our very own hearts. For there is truth everywhere! There is enough to go around. And, it isn’t cornered on a church, but a Divine Marvelous Orchestrator- whom will weave in all of the notes, and arrange us all into a harmonious tune. Our note is a vital part of the song. But it is not the entire choir.
For all things denote there is a God.
Someday, all truth will be circumscribed into one, beautiful whole. Like petals of a rose, nestled snugly together- awaiting a beautiful blossom. And when it blossoms, we will gasp at it’s intricate beauty- and become, almost intoxicated with it’s heavenly aroma.
The danger in zealously claiming we have “arrived” at all truth, (if in fact we really do have it and have not yet received it fully,) is that we sterilize our curiosity in experimenting on the word, and risk being lulled into becoming a generation of vipers.
We have some fascinating doctrine and ideas to consider. Beliefs I embrace in my core.
Yet, is there a more effective question to hinge ALL of our religious wrestles and choices on?
What about the fruits?
Truth is important. I love truth. Pondering truth. Trying out possible truth. Feasting on truth. Experiencing my truths. Becoming my truths.
“May truth be my identity.”
But truth or not truth, that is not my only question.
More importantly I urge we consider:
What are the fruits?